ya, i know this is kinda dumb, but for lack of better action in this form I figured i'd post it. :-) the smiley is 20 years old!
It was 20 years ago today that Scott Fahlman taught the 'Net how to smile.
The IBM researcher has devoted his professional life to artificial intelligence, the practice of teaching computers how to think like humans.
Fahlman is known for his work with neural networks -- a computer technique designed to mimic the human brain -- and helping develop Common Lisp, a computer language that uses symbols instead of numbers, but the bearded scientist is perhaps best known for a flash of inspiration that helped to define Internet culture, in all of its ungrammatical glory.
On Sept. 19, 1982, Fahlman typed :-) in an online message.
The "smiley face" has since become a staple of online communication, allowing 12-year-old girls and corporate lawyers alike to punctuate their messages with a quick symbol that says, "Hey, I'm only joking." http://news.lycos.com/news/story.asp?section=LycosTechnology&storyId=55262